Alpha Technology Initiates Scrypt ASIC Tape-Out

Nermin Hajdarbegovic
Apr 15, 2014 at 15:30 UTC
Updated Apr 16, 2014 at 13:21 UTC

Alpha Technology has a new development update and its Viper scrypt board seems to be making headway.

The British ASIC maker said it has completed the schematics for the ATX power distribution board and of the AC power metering board. Those of the actual ASIC board are not complete yet, but Alpha said it is “almost” done. In addition, the company has finalised the design of the enclosure and WebGUI user interface.

ASIC tape-out initiated

Alpha said it is currently in the process of initiating tape-out at GlobalFoundries. The chip design has been finalised and sent to the foundry for fabrication. According to the latest update, the team managed to reduce power consumption to just 9W per chip.

Alpha Technology CEO Mohammed Akram recently told CoinDesk that the biggest challenge faced by the engineering team is power efficiency, and that the latest updates appear to be focused on power supply and distribution. Alpha optimised the ASIC design with the aid of GlobalFoundries aid in an effort to reduce power consumption – a process that reduced the ASIC clock but increased performance.

The tape-out was originally scheduled for late March.

Real world performance and efficiency

Alpha Technology revised its spec and bumped up the hash rate for its scrypt miners last month. The company was supposed to launch two units: a 5MH/s miner and a 25MH/s miner, but now, it said, the miners will deliver 16MH/s and 90MH/s respectively.

KnCMiner is also entering the scrypt space with the Titan, a 250MH/s miner priced at $9,995. Alpha plans to sell its 25MH/s miner for $2,200, while the 90MH/s unit should cost $9,000.

The Titan will operate with an 800W-1000W power supply unit, KnCMiner said. Alpha originally expected to deliver 10W per 1MH/s, but it believes it can do better, so its 90MH/s miner should consume about 750W.

In any case, the advent of powerful and immensely efficient scrypt ASICs is not good news for GPU miners, as the ASICs will render GPU-based miners uncompetitive in the scrypt arena. GPUs will still be capable of mining certain types of altcoins based on alternative ASIC-proof algorithms, but the market for these altcoins remains limited.

Disclaimer: This article should not be viewed as an endorsement of any of the companies mentioned. Please do your own extensive research before considering investing any funds in these products.